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Mental Health Concerns
181
accident can trigger “Post Traumatic Stress”. PTSD is
typically characterized by feelings of helplessness, and
anxiety and panic. People with PTSD may experience
symptoms that can interfere with daily functioning,
including:
intrusive thoughts, memories, or nightmares about the
event
anxiety, guilty, or depression
numbness and withdrawal
re-experiencing visions of the traumatic event.
While not everyone exposed to a traumatic event will
experience PTSD, about 7–8% of the U.S. population will
have symptoms at some point in their lives. Signs of PTSD
may appear soon after the event or months or even years
later. Those with PTSD may experience loss of memory about
the traumatic event or focus on it considerably. They may
experience sleep problems, such as difficulty falling asleep
and staying asleep, initial or worsened substance abuse and
relationship difficulties.
The Virginia Wounded Warrior Program estimates that as
many as 1 in 5 veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
will have symptoms of PTSD. Those returning to campus may
benefit from connecting with campus resources as well as
with other veterans as they begin classes.